Friday, May 2, 2014

Libraries Navigate the Messy World of Discovery Tools

As researchers (students and faculty, alike) turn increasingly to Google for their searches, university libraries - and the companies that provide the software they use - are having to rethink how they organize information and structure searches. Many are considering turning to the Google-like one-stop search box. While this structure has the benefit of elegance and simplicity, it also runs the risk of inundating researchers with loads of irrelevant results - a particularly vexing problem for those of us teaching young researchers how to gather the best information possible.

This move also impacts the very nature of research itself, how we find information, and how we use what we find. As the author of the article states: "The big question is how these emerging tools are influencing research. Scholars have begun several studies to find out. The work is important because "unlike almost anything that libraries have done before," the rollout of one-stop search tools is 'really intentionally trying to change the way people do research,' says Michael Levine-Clark, associate dean for scholarly communication and collections services at the University of Denver Libraries. "That’s bound to change what people find."


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